Ciao, Pagliacci.

If you haven’t heard, the amazing tenor Luciano Pavarotti has recently died. As a singer, he was a real talent. And for opera fans around the world, he was the only clown they really cared about (or maybe even seen)

Pagliacci the opera was first made famous by the tenor Enrico Caruso, and since has become one of the standards by which tenors are judged. Caruso singing Pagliacci was the first record to sell one million copies.

Pavarotti made his indelible mark on the role as well, and was seen by some to be the ultimate Canio (who is the murderous clown/commedia performer in the play)

The most famous aria that he sings is Vesti La Giubba (Put on the costumes) Which he sings while heartbroken. Vesti la Giubba is the conclusion of the first act, where Canio (Pagliaccio) discovers his wife’s infidelity, but must prepare for performance as the ‘show must go on’.

Here is the Wikipedia translation of the original text.

To recite! While taken with delirium,
I no longer know what I say,
or that which I do!
And yet you must, force yourself!
Bah! Are you not a man?
You are a clown!

Put on your costume,
and powder your face.
The people pay, and laugh when they please.
And if Harlequin steals from you Colombina,
laugh, Pagliaccio, and everyone will applaud!
Change into laughs the spasms of pain;
into a grimace the tears of pain, Ah!

Laugh, Pagliaccio,
for your love is broken!
Laugh of the pain, that poisons your heart!

To find out more about Pagliacci or Pavarotti, visit the websites listed below.

PAVAROTTI: Obituary
PAVAROTTI: Official Website
PAGLIACCI: Wikipedia

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